Two years ago, I posted about the astonishingly-popular Animal Adventure Park webcam sharing the darling giraffe April and her pregnancy, labor, and birth. Well, here we are again. April is once again knocked up and due any moment, and I must confess I’ve spent the last week obsessively watching her feed like we’re related. And I’m not alone. This past weekend, no matter what time of the day I tuned in, there were between 30 and 50 thousand viewers peeping right along with me. Of course, because it’s the internet, the chat still gets trolls, cranks, and people desperate for attention, but I would say overall, the viewers are a pretty friendly, positive bunch. Also, every minute or so, someone new pops in to ask one of the usual questions: “What’s happening?” (General giraffing) or “Is April in labor” (Nobody knows but April, and she’s not talking) or “How long is a giraffe’s gestation?” (15 months) or “How many calves has April had?” (this will be her 5th) and by this time, we (obsessive) viewers have learned so many valuable facts from the moderators, the handlers, April’s owner Jordan, and her vet, Dr. Tim, that nearly all of us can answer most basic questions that come up.
All of the repetitive questions people ask are actually answered with great consistency on the Animal Adventure Park Facebook page. AAP, as they’re known in the inner circles, are terrific communicators, and they have been keeping us apprised of the development of the progress of April’s pregnancy and impending labor. In addition to the daily Facebook updates, there is a Google doc containing all the pertinent facts about April and Oliver (baby daddy). The doc is also used to answer questions people ask Jordan or Dr. Tim. The whole experience is an amazing learning opportunity, and judging by the worldwide presence watching the webcam, I’m not the only one having fun becoming an armchair giraffe expert.
All that knowledge, however, still leaves unanswered the question of timing. In the wild, very nasty predators are always nearby, and giraffes’ defenses are limited to speed and, in a pinch, hooves. Because of that, the animals have evolved to hide their labor until the very end. Otherwise, predators would just follow them and wait for the defenseless baby to be born. They exhibit this secretiveness even in captivity. In fact, even actual giraffe experts won’t commit to saying an animal is in labor until the calf’s hooves are visible. As a result, we internet creepers have had to resort to wild speculation based on not very much science. At least once per minute, someone comments “She’s pushing!” but it’s nearly always pooping. (If all you ate was grain, hay, and carrots, you’d do a lot of that, too.) Nonetheless, she will, eventually, be in labor. It seems possible that April will, in fact, give birth in the next few days. (F.Y.I., we all, including the folks at AAP, thought that last week, too.)
So if you want to watch something both fascinating and peaceful and learn some really cool Giraffe facts and behaviors (just watching the difficult process she has to go through to lay down is worth tuning in), you can watch on the 24-7 April webcam. You can get updates and facts on the AAP Facebook page and in the Google Doc, and you can sign up for a text alert about the birth on the AAP website.
And just to show you how amazing giraffe creeping is, here’s the money shot from the 2017 webcam of April’s last birth. WARNING: like all birth, it’s at once incredible and gross.
F.Y.I., Tajiri, the calf born in the video above, now has a brand new girlfriend and his own webcam!